Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Human Motion Lab

Josh R. Baxter, PhD

Josh directs the Human Motion Laboratory at Penn Medicine. Before joining Penn in 2016, Josh was a researcher at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City where he used robotic techniques to make cadaveric feet walk as if they were attached to living people. This technology allowed clinicians to test how their surgeries would affect the biomechanics of walking before stepping foot in the operating room. Prior to that, Josh earned his PhD at Penn State University where he linked foot structure to function — finding that sprinters have longer toes and shorter heels than non-sprinters, which suggest that small differences in bone structure can have large implications on function and mobility.

At Penn, Josh is primarily focused on studying the effects of tendon injuries on muscle-tendon structure and function in patient populations. For example, Josh uses ultrasonography, motion capture, wearable sensors, and strength assessments in innovative ways to study how tendon injury affects muscle-tendon structure and function. Recent advancements in low-cost electronics allow the lab to translate these techniques to clinical settings to study treatment efficacy in large patient populations. The long-term goal of Josh’s research is to optimize early detection methods and treatment options for tendon injuries and disease.

In addition to research, Josh likes to build furniture and other odds and ends with wood, cook with his wife, and keep his kids from growing up too fast.

Please check out Josh's complete work history and list of published studies if you are interested.